According to Nielsen people are 10 times as likely to action a word of mouth referral as they are to messaging on social media.

By Douglas Chrystall

Word of Mouth marketing works, we all know it does, now is the time to stop talking about it and make it work for you. Here are some tips that we have learnt from our customers.

Treat Customers as Insiders

You should turn your business personal. With marketing to your existing customers you should make them feel part of your business. Give them information that isn’t normally available in your general marketing. Inform them of new releases before you go to general release. By doing this you really build up the trust and credibility in your business.

Stay top of mind

Keep in touch with your customers. “If your customers don’t think of you, they don’t talk about you”. Email marketing, social media posts, be out there and be relevant. Think outside the box, the web doesn’t have all the answers. Record customer videos and post these out there, it’s amazing how many people then point their friends to that video.

Make it easy for your customers

Define a customer elevator pitch. At a company I was at several years ago, we had a pitch that we gave to customers. One day at a conference I overheard a user of our product talking to someone else and they used our pitch, “Brilliant”.

Ensure the referral gets the Royal Treatment

The most important thing a referrer wants to hear, is that the person they referred had a great experience with your company. So whether you make the sale or not, really make the referred customer feel special and that because their friend is a part of the club they are now the latest member. I know some of you out there will say every new customer should be treated the same way. And yes you should always give great service, but people love to feel special and this is the time you should really work this.

Reward Referrals

Think about the reward. More cash doesn’t always work. One of our customers changed a reward from $20 a referral to now giving out a sports bottle ($14). Her referrals went up 5x overnight. The reason, her customers said they felt uncomfortable getting cash, but a water bottle felt OK. Even better, her marketing is on the fancy water bottle. This water bottle is now becoming a topic of conversation with her customers and that is now creating a reason to stay “Top Of Mind”.

Have a System

Track Referrals so you understand who your best customers are. A Financial Advisor was telling me just today, one of his top customers has the smallest portfolio, but she has referred over a third of his business in the last 2 years. You can imagine how well she gets treated. But if he didn’t track and acknowledge this, then, if this small customer was to leave he might lose a far bigger chunk of his business than he was expecting.


Once you do this, don’t stop. Most failed referral programs happen because companies don’t make it a part of their DNA. All your staff should be a part of this. It starts slow and the real results take time and could be 6 months to a year away. When I see companies persist now doing no advertising and then just work from referrals

The first step in the design of your referral system is to unearth the simple, remarkable difference that is your chief competitive advantage. It’s not enough to offer a nice feature, something your competition doesn’t; this must be something so special that people can’t help talking about your business. End of discussion. If the core difference you offer doesn’t make people stop and take notice, you’ve still got work to do.

Quote from “The Referral Engine”

AuthorDouglas Chrystall